Viktor Ullmann

01/01/1898 Cieszyn (Těšín), 18/10/1944 Osvětim  

Viktor Ullmann was born to parents of Jewish descent, who had converted to Catholicism so that his father could pursue a career as an army officer. After studying composition with Arnold Schönberg in Vienna for almost a year, Ullmann and his first wife moved to Prague. In 1920, he was hired as a chorus master and coach at the New German Theatre (today’s State Opera), whose artistic director at the time was the conductor and composer Alexander Zemlinsky. Two years later, Ullmann was appointed second Kapellmeister. While in Prague, he was an active member of several music societies. In the 1927/28 season, he served as director of the opera company in Ústí nad Labem. In the 1930s, Ullmann began focusing on anthroposophy. He worked as a freelancer, composing, writing, giving private music lessons and studying music himself. In September 1942, the Nazi occupation authorities incarcerated him in Theresienstadt, where along with numerous other imprisoned artists he gave and organised concerts. The works he composed during his time in the camp-ghetto, include the one-act opera Der Kaiser von Atlantis (The Emperor of Atlantis). On 16 September 1944, Ullmann was transported to Auschwitz, where two days later he was murdered in a gas chamber.